Hillary 2016? Not So Fast

Is this the first bump in the road for Hillary Clinton’s inevitable inauguration? The blogosphere has been buzzing about Hillary successfully defending an accused child molester in one of her early cases as an attorney.

Hillary Clinton is known as a champion of women and girls, but one woman who says she was raped as a 12-year-old in Arkansas doesn’t think Hillary deserves that honor. This woman says Hillary smeared her and used dishonest tactics to successfully get her attacker off with a light sentence—even though, she claims, Clinton knew he was guilty.

This is not news. Lawyers have to defend people they know are guilty. And they are bound to defend those clients to the best of their ability within the law. That’s the way the system works. Our second President, John Adams, said one of the proudest achievements of his life was defending the soldiers who committed the Boston Massacre. Because though his heart was with the victims, he believed in the law. And frankly, I’m getting a bit tired of the “Politician A defended Slimeball B” accusations being used to disparage political opponents. This is their job. This is what lawyers do. Everyone has a right to a defense, even 42-year-old men who drug and molest 12-year-old girls.

In a long, emotional interview with The Daily Beast, she accused Clinton of intentionally lying about her in court documents, going to extraordinary lengths to discredit evidence of the rape, and later callously acknowledging and laughing about her attackers’ guilt on the recordings.

If Clinton was guilty of misconduct, that’s a story worth digging into. But if what she did was within the bounds of the law (the bounds on these cases much wider in 1975 than they are now), it’s not an issue. The recordings of Clinton laughing about it are disturbing but I don’t see an election turning on that.

(Speaking of laughter, the comments on these stories might provoke some gallows laughter if you care to sift through them. The Clinton supporters are saying that we shouldn’t care about this because it happened 40 years ago. I’m sympathetic to that but … you know … hell they know … that if Clinton were a Republican, this would be a HUGE scandal, something never to be forgiven, a sign of the GOP’s insensitivity to rape culture. This is exactly the kind of raw political partisanship that excused Bill Clinton’s womanizing, harassment and even rape accusations because he was “doing good things for women”.)

This story will doubtless be forgotten in two years. But I wanted to mention it for one big reason. Everyone is acting like Clinton’s victory in 2016 is inevitable. And certainly she would have to be the favorite right now, simply because no other candidate has as much prominence. I’m convinced she will win the Democratic nomination easily. But I don’t think her election is a done deal. Part of it is stuff like this. The Clintons have an enormous amount of baggage and the GOP has nearly a quarter century of research on them. When the skeletons are finally let out of the Clinton closet, it’s going to be like the Paths of the Dead scene in Lord of the Rings.

But the main reason I don’t think Hillary 2016 is inevitable is this: what the hell is Hillary’s campaign going to be about?

Seriously. What issues is she going to run on? She can’t run on Obama’s record since it isn’t that hot and Obama is unpopular. But she can’t run against it without splitting the party.

Healthcare? That used to be her issue but we have Obamacare and that’s quite enough, thank you. Foreign policy? The economy? None of those are winners for her. In the end, I suspect Hillary’s campaign will come down to “it’s my turn” and I just don’t see the voters jumping on that. They didn’t with McCain in 2008. Or Dole in 1996.

As I see it, she has two options. One is to hope that the economy is doing great, the world is settled down, the scandals blow over and Obamacare becomes popular. Then she can run on a campaign of continuing those policies. And also doing something about all the pigs flying through the air.

The other option … and I suspect that given the realities of Obama’s tenure, this is where she’ll go … is Republicans Be Crazy. She’ll attempt to portray them as deranged lunatics who want to end Medicare, take away your health insurance, crash the economy and start a war. She’ll rally the various parts of the Democratic coalition and try to isolate the Republicans to only representing old white Christian men. Such a campaign would be nasty and divisive but I strongly suspect this is the road she’ll take.

Because, that’s the other reminder in this story. The Clintons talk nice when they have nothing to gain or lose. But when it comes to something they want — be it a plea bargain or the White House — they will scorch the fucking Earth to get there.

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  1. Seattle Outcast

    “It’s MY turn” isn’t going to resonate well with huge portions of the populace because nobody under 50 gives a shit about her, and her prime voting demographic is dying off. Here in Seattle the only people I know that are willing to vote for her are around 80, and Seattle is liberal as fucking hell.

    Her age will be of issue, and let’s be honest, she was fucking butt-ugly in the prime of her youth and she hasn’t aged well at all. She looks like she’s got a lot of miles on her, and combined with reports of her health not being all that hot (true or not, it’s out there) many people will be looking squarely at her VP choice as someone likely to finish out her term. Nobody wants her generation in charge any longer – from either party.

    Also, she’s scandal ridden – there are enough skeletons in her closet that nobody will ever run out of them to drag into the sunlight one last time. They don’t even have to be true, or anything even more than marginally believable – the sheer volume of negative exposure coupled with the constant need to justify her actions or defend her history as Bill’s “co-president” will be a drag on her campaign.

    I see this as her testing the waters, and it’s coming up short. Her book isn’t selling, her TV appearances aren’t getting viewers, and the press is lukewarm to her at best. Once a viable candidate of any sort appears (which may not happen until the 2020 election) they’ll dump her in a heartbeat, just like they did 8 years ago for Obama.

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  2. West Virginia Rebel

    “Her turn” was probably in 2008. That said, if she wants her coronation, she’ll probably get it as the Clintons will not be denied.

    The question if she doesn’t run will be, who takes her place? Joe Biden is even older than she is, and as of now there really aren’t a whole lot of contenders who either want the job or have national name recognition outside of Jerry Brown and maybe Andrew Cuomo.

    Also, if she doesn’t run, do the Republicans go with somebody like Ted Cruz or an establishment type like Jeb Bush? Bush would probably be the safer bet as Hillary wouldn’t be there.

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  3. hist_ed

    I play soccer on a team with a bunch of younger players (25-35) and occasionally go out after. A couple of weeks ago one of the guys on the team was looking at his phone and exploded “Jesus Christ are we really go to have to choose between a Clinton and a Bush?” We don’t talk much about politics in these after game beer sessions, but his comment elicited a chorus of groans. Many of these kids are fairly apolitical. As far as I know all of them are somewhere on the democratic side of the political spectrum. Not a single one of them showed an ounce of enthusiasm for Clinton (3 guys, 5 women, 3 minorities). This was in a bar in West Seattle. The area probably went for Obama by at least 70% and I bet every person at the table except me voted for Obama (if they voted).

    If she runs, Clinton will get the nomination (I really hope Biden tries, we’ll need some comic relief). And the it will be the Republican’s race to lose. I don’t know what I think of the field right now, but if the GOP can find someone who doesn’t have his tongue up the asses of big business and the open borders crowd, I think it will be an up hill fight for Clinton. The enthusiasm gap will be huge. Hell, I bet even Romney could pull it off if he threw his hat in the ring.

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  4. Xetrov

    As popular as blogs and “alternate news” sources are becoming, the course of the 2016 election (and 2014 election) will still be dictated largely by the mainstream media. If 2012 was about what Obama had actually done in office, and the results, he would have lost by a landslide. But the media kept it mostly about “47%” and race, and anything other than what Obama had actually done in office. 2016 will not be about Clinton’s (or whoever gets the nomination’s) record. if current events continue, it will be about amnesty for illegal aliens. It will be about Republicans wanting to run grandma off of a cliff, or take away government benefits.

    The Republic is at a tipping point. Career politicians remain the root of the problem. if that is not addressed soon, there will be no coming back.

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